The Transfiguration

everything is sacred

Photographer of the Day #1742

with one comment

Photographer of the Day #1742

I circled the Yerba Buena carousel several times this afternoon, sneaking up on pigeons with my camera, waiting to meet a virtual stranger. A few written messages make it easy to imagine a person, and to invent a hundred hypothetical conversations and interactions, but people will always surprise you. With so many imagined possibilities and no sense of certainty, I was, naturally, a little nervous for the coming introduction.

After an awkward greeting defused by silly gestures, we took a wandering route through San Francisco, stopping every few paces to photograph graffiti, urban geometries and signs of eloquent decay.

Nestled in one of the neighborhoods was a small playground built like a challenge to children, with high pipes to clamber across that would have daunted me as a child. Nearby, an injured streetlight gawked with a dislocated jaw; we were helpless to mend it, and had to leave the lamp to its fate.

Several decades of architecture blended together in the span of a few city blocks: modern squared condominiums; apartments painted in exuberant monochrome, locked down with a mysterious and excessive level of security; office buildings bitten by graffiti tags and patched over with mismatching paint; and crumbling brick factories with shattered windows and rusting frames. The devices at the top of this photo seem to be nozzles connected to pipelines within, and for a moment I wondered if they might ooze out some toxic substance without warning. We escaped unscathed, happily, with souvenirs of their eloquent decay.

Behind the factories, in an arid parking lot, we stumbled upon a small art gallery marked by silk flags. Paintings inspired by sports, fantasy and still lives lined one wall. Another displayed photographed scenes from dilapidated houses; sunlight poured through holes in the ceiling of one room, and sprouting plants were reclaiming the space. An old woman’s quilts were hung by the door next to an unceremoniously offered bowl of chips. One room offered fruit and cheese and water to guests, and we took the opportunity to find some relief from the unusually hot San Francisco sun.

Leaving the Dogpatch, wandering back in the general direction of civilization, we found ourselves at a fleet of houseboats floating on a calm green river. These homes sported even greater variety than the static buildings we’d passed previously – one sleek and modern, another decorated with several sets of antlers, another accompanied by giant swan and floating UFO. A perfect little grassy knoll offered shade under swaying trees, and we took a few moments to rest and cool while I asked for a memory.

Eventually, miraculously, we completed a full circuit back to the carousel, and from there spent some time hunting for smoothies before stopping at a park where the white noise of several fountains washed away the hubbub of the city. Sore from the walk, with feet like burnt-out matchsticks, we soon parted ways, but hopefully another adventure will come soon.

This is Cordelia. Kindly and curious, she is an expert at finding and admiring subtle marvels, and this was a lovely way to make a stranger’s acquaintance.

the greatest people I see
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Written by Umbrella Man

June 30, 2013 at 4:51 am

One Response

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  1. This place sounds great Kevin! Id love to check it out some day. Also, a photo k sounds like the perfect way to get to know someone

    Anna Kay

    June 30, 2013 at 7:38 pm


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